Be intentional: part II
In part 1 I used the parable of “The Wise and Foolish Builders” I think it can apply very well here. If I build my life on the rock, which is Christ, than all my other relationships will clearly be affected by Christ in me. (Gal 2:20)
As disciples we are called to have and keep good relationships that are built with love, that are continuing to grow and doing so in ways that are radically different than what the world does. With the result;
“They (the world) will know we are Christians by our love”. (Charles Dean)
Like any relationship that I want to keep and grow, I need to invest time and effort daily to have any success. God wants all of our relationships to be centered in love.
Love is broken down in the Bible in 4 ways:
Eros: Sensual or romantic love, physical attraction
Storge: The affectionate bond that connects Families, parents for children, and
between brothers and sisters.
Philia: Intimate love as between disciples that is the bond of close friendship.
Agape: Is the highest as in the unconditional love God has for all people. It is perfect
unconditional, sacrificial and totally pure.
We are commanded to love the Lord first of all. But how is that possible? People don’t just turn it on, there has to be something to encourage love to develop. The way we learn to love God is the same as with any relationship. Get to know who God is and start to experience the depth of the love he has for you already.
1 John 4 God’s Love and Ours: (v7-21)
16 And so we (disciples) know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.
# How well I experience the depth and breadth of God’s love for me depends directly on how
close I get to God to experience it personally. We should be like the Berean Jews who
received the message Paul gave with eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to
see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)
I think the ultimate goal of all long term relationships can be summed up by the works to a
song by the group, Spiral Staircase:
“I love you more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow…”
I find this true for myself. over the years I have come to appreciate and cherish the depth
and greatness of God more. God has grown more amazing not less. This should always be
my goal as I strive to build by relationship with God. This would extend to all of our
relationships. Family and other both disciples and non-disciples.
Heb 10 A Call to Persevere in Faith: (v19-39)
22 let us draw near to God (through prayer and study of the Word) with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
# Jesus is very approachable. We are told that we can have confidence in approaching him,
because he too lived in the world and was tempted in every way just as we are, so he is able
to empathize with our weakness. (Heb 4:15-16[I])
Jesus spent quality time in prayer to keep his connection with his Father and assured him of the power of the Holy Spirit being present for him to complete his mission.
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to a lonely place and prayed.
# The disciples saw Jesus’ pray life and asked to be taught.
Jesus taught that his disciples should “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1)
Eph 6 The Armor of God: (v10-21)
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Be Bold and confident in your prayers:
Heb 4 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
1 Peter 5: 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
# Hebrews 4:16 is and encouragement not to hold back, Eph 6:18 and 1 Peter 5:7 is almost a
commands to not by shy in approaching God in prayer, David had great prayers filled with
deep emotion that he poured out before God. He is another good example of someone who
knew how to pray.
The Best motivation is Love
John 14 Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit: (v15-31)
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
2 Cor 9 Generosity Encouraged: (v6-15)
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
# Being a cheerful giver is more than just giving money. I believe that it includes giving myself
wholeheartedly to God first. It is much easier to do this out of love than out of fear. It is the
same in regard to giving to others, ( Eph 6:7[II]) especially those who are hard to love. It is the
Lord I am serving when I serve others in love. (The parable of the Sheep and Goats)
To be effectively intentional I need the inward desire to be successful in what I have as my intentions. Since I am weak, flawed, sometimes spiritually lazy and of course sinful I need what will enable me to have the ability to succeed. This again goes back to humbling myself before God and letting Christ live and work effectively in me (Gal 2:20). Which call me to daily get up, put on the armor of God. (Eph 6:10-18) and strive to draw near to God that he will draw near to me (James 4:8).